GENOA – Friday evening’s Burlington Central at Genoa-Kingston boys basketball game had the atmosphere of a postseason contest.
Fans from both schools filled the seats, the student sections were loud. However, the game itself wasn’t the close, nail-biting affair you would expect from two teams fighting for a conference title. Instead, the Rockets had their way with the Cogs for most of the game, winning 58-49.
“It was nice to see our defense and rebounding get back to the level I think we can play it at,” Burllington Central coach Brett Porto said. “I thought that was key for us. If we could fix decision-making and some free-throw shooting which has kind of been our achillies heel the last couple weeks, we don’t even let them back into it.”
The Rockets improved to 16-6 overall, 6-2 in the BIg Northern East, and put themselves into a tie with the Cogs (14-7, 6-2) in second place in the conference. Richmond-Burton entered Friday with just one loss in the league.
Central overcame three straight turnovers to start the game and led 10-6 after the first quarter and 28-19 at the half. A 3-pointer by James Raney made it 40-23 midway through the third. The Cogs would get to within 10 points in the final minute, but it was just too late.
“There was about six minutes of basketball we would like to have back. The start of the first half, start of the second half, and about two minutes in the fourth quarter,” Porto said. “Other than that, those second and third quarters were really big for us, kind of got in a groove and it really started with our defense.”
Sean Fitzgerald led the Rockets with 19 points. Reed Hunnicutt added 11 while Raney finished with 10.
Kaneland 91, Rochelle 67: At Rochelle, Ty Carlson scored 33 points and John Pruett added 24 as Kaneland (11-7, 3-3) grabbed the Northern Illinois Big 12 East win.
Winnebago 73, Aurora Christian 56: At Winnebago, Wes Wolfe scored 14 points but the Eagles dropped the nonconference matchup.
• Steve Nitz contributed to this report.